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War is Ellis

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I’m on my way to see the Yankees and the Red Sox in a spring training game tonight, so I won’t be posting much today. But a friend send me this blog item from the March 10 Waxahachie paper that is worth noting:

When the delegations for Ellis and Hill counties were in Austin to visit with our Legislature, we thought it odd Speaker of the House Tom Craddick chose to leave the House floor at the time those delegations were to be recognized. In an earlier editorial, we raised the suggestion that Speaker Craddick was possibly sending a message to the folks back in District 10 — the area represented by State Rep. Jim Pitts, who mounted a campaign against Craddick for the House Speaker position just before the 80th Legislature convened. After all, when Craddick won re-election, he pledged to change his style of leadership which representatives had been critical of for Craddick’s tactics of bullying, intimidation and retribution if they didn’t go along with the Speaker’s wishes. In our editorial, we pointed out that Craddick’s apparent petty snub of the District 10 delegations was proof that a leopard can’t change his spots.Two days after the editorial was published, Speaker Craddick submitted a letter to the editor stating: “…Normally, the representative from a specific county contacts my office in advance so that a delegation’s visit can be arranged. I received no such advanced notice from Rep. Jim Pitts or his office that the Hill County and Ellis County delegations were planning to visit the House of Representatives.” We found it difficult to believe that State Rep. Pitts failed to file the proper paperwork. Not that we don’t take Speaker Craddick at his word, but we filed open records requests with the Speaker of the House, House Administration, Parliamentarian’s Office, Chief Clerk’s Office and the Sergeant at Arm’s Office requesting documents for business submitted to come before the House on Wednesday, Feb. 21 (the date of the Hill County delegation) and Tuesday, Feb. 27 (the date of the Ellis County delegation). Guess what we found. Rep. Pitts had indeed filed all the necessary paperwork for the delegations from his district to be recognized on the House floor. He even followed up with additional e-mails. (See documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act published on Page 9A of today’s edition). When we contacted the Speaker’s Office about what we had found, we received a different response — no apology to Jim Pitts, mind you — rather, it now appears the Speaker is a very busy man and doesn’t always get a chance to look at the daily agenda of business before the House. Say what? That’s right. While the paperwork was properly filed and on the House agenda, Speaker Craddick just didn’t have time to look at it. Not that we don’t take Speaker Craddick at his word, but we find that very difficult to believe. With all the important legislation pending before the House, how can Speaker Craddick, a man known for his strong-arm, micro-management and behind-the-scenes intimidation, not know what was on the agenda? After all, it’s his agenda! Even if he didn’t look at his own agenda, it’s apparent he reads the Daily Light. We published multiple announcements promoting the Ellis County delegation’s visit to Austin. How could he not know? It’s one thing to be a bully who holds a grudge. This latest development casts Craddick’s character in a whole new light. Either he is a man who has difficulty being forthcoming and truthful, or, he is not well suited for the powerful position he holds. Either way, it goes to show our state would have been better served had State Rep. Jim Pitts been successful in his bid for Speaker. But unlike Craddick, our story doesn’t change about where we stand.

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